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Kapu v. Attorney General

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

October 6, 2017



          Derrick K. Watson United States District Judge


         On October 2, 2017, Plaintiff King Kamehameha VII, Ni‘i Loa Mo‘i Kapu (“Mo‘i Kapu”), formerly known as John Freeman Eleu Santos, proceeding pro se, filed a Second Amended Complaint[1] that once again attempts to assert claims against the State of Hawaii, the State Attorney General, Sheriff's Division, and the Bureau of Conveyances, challenging the sovereignty of the United States and the State of Hawaii and seeking the payment of taxes from the same. Dkt. No. 11. Within the Second Amended Complaint, Mo‘i Kapu incorporates a Motion to Strike, Motion for Preliminary and/or Permanent Injunction, and a Motion for Temporary Receiver, although the specific relief targeted by each “Motion” is not readily apparent.

         The Second Amended Complaint suffers from the same deficiencies as Mo‘i Kapu's prior complaints, previously identified in the Court's May 15, 2017 and August 2, 2017 Orders dismissing with leave to amend both his initial Complaint and First Amended Complaint. Dkt. No. 4 (5/15/17 Order) and Dkt. No. 8 (8/2/17 Order). Because Mo‘i Kapu once more fails to state a claim for relief, and because the Court determines that further leave to amend is futile, the Second Amended Complaint is DISMISSED with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). Likewise, all pending Motions are DENIED, as Plaintiff fails to either identify the relief sought or to establish any entitlement to relief.[2]


         Because Mo‘i Kapu is appearing pro se, the Court liberally construes his filings. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Eldridge v. Block, 832 F.2d 1132, 1137 (9th Cir. 1987) (“The Supreme Court has instructed the federal courts to liberally construe the ‘inartful pleading' of pro se litigants.”) (citing Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364, 365 (1982) (per curiam)). The Court recognizes that “[u]nless it is absolutely clear that no amendment can cure the defect . . . a pro se litigant is entitled to notice of the complaint's deficiencies and an opportunity to amend prior to dismissal of the action.” Lucas v. Dep't of Corr., 66 F.3d 245, 248 (9th Cir. 1995); see also Crowley v. Bannister, 734 F.3d 967, 977-78 (9th Cir. 2013). A court may, however, deny leave to amend where further amendment would be futile. See, e.g., Leadsinger, Inc. v. BMG Music Pub., 512 F.3d 522, 532 (9th Cir. 2008) (reiterating that a district court may deny leave to amend for, among other reasons “repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed . . . [and] futility of amendment”).

         As detailed below, the SAC is dismissed and further amendment would be futile under the circumstances because: (1) Plaintiff failed to follow the Court's prior Orders; (2) his invocation of this Court's jurisdiction while simultaneously challenging its authority is nonsensical; (3) there is no showing that the government defendants have waived sovereign immunity; and (4) no private cause of action exists for violations of 18 U.S.C. § 4, as alleged.

         Even given the most liberal construction possible, to the extent Mo‘i Kapu requests injunctive relief or the appointment of a temporary receiver, he fails to establish any entitlement to such relief. Nor is it even clear on the face of the pleadings what relief he seeks. Accordingly, the pending Motions are denied.

         I. The SAC Is Dismissed Without Further Leave To Amend

         After twice affording Plaintiff the opportunity to amend his complaints, and providing specific instructions on the permissible parameters of such amendment, Mo‘i Kapu again fails to state a claim. As discussed below, even liberally construed, the SAC fails to state any discernible basis for judicial relief.

         A. Standard of Review

         The Court subjects each civil action commenced pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) to mandatory screening and can order the dismissal of any claims it finds “frivolous, malicious, failing to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeking monetary relief from a defendant immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B); Lopez v. Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126-27 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (stating that 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) “not only permits but requires” the court to sua sponte dismiss an in forma pauperis complaint that fails to state a claim); Calhoun v. Stahl, 254 F.3d 845, 845 (9th Cir. 2001) (per curiam) (holding that “the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) are not limited to prisoners”). Because Mo‘i Kapu is appearing pro se, the Court liberally construes the SAC and related Motions.

         The Court may dismiss a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted[.]” A Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper when there is either a “‘lack of a cognizable legal theory or the absence of sufficient facts alleged.'” UMG Recordings, Inc. v. Shelter Capital Partners, LLC, 718 F.3d 1006, 1014 (9th Cir. 2013) (quoting Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir. 1990)). A plaintiff must allege “sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)); see also Weber v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, 521 F.3d 1061, 1065 (9th Cir. 2008). This tenet - that the court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in the complaint - “is inapplicable to legal conclusions.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Accordingly, “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555); see also Starr v. Baca, 652 F.3d 1202, 1216 (9th Cir. 2011) (“[A]llegations in a complaint or counterclaim may not simply recite the elements of a cause of action, but must contain sufficient allegations of underlying facts to give fair notice and to enable the opposing party to defend itself effectively.”).

         “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Factual allegations that only permit the Court to infer “the mere possibility of ...

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